after Bob Ross’s painting ‘Winter Mountain Lake’
It is an old story. Girls, perched
on banks, shedding masks onto the
moonlit pebbles. They are giggling,
brushing white flecks off their noses.
The myth tells them to drag fingers
into the lake, lick the ripple, splash
dirty off their mishaven legs. Mother
warned of wolves nuzzling by their
feet. But water makes them submissive.
Let the dragonflies and stained reeds
whisper things that never happened.
Let the rolling waves smooth their palms
half-cast and forgotten by the bayside.
They wade into the shallows, black
manes haloing their bodies. A mist
settles; their crested reflections blur
into mosaics. Remember hands
pressing into waists. Remember
sighs dancing on lips. When
the fog lifts, the girls are gone.